Everyone dreams of working from home, but we can fail to realize that sometimes being home doesn’t make for the most productive days. Whether you plan to run a business from your computer or you just need a space to organize your thoughts and paperwork, a home workspace makes a big difference for ambitious professionals.
When you think of a typical workplace office, your mind imagines cubicles decorated with tiny family photos, empty staplers, and quiet chatter about upcoming meetings. With our modern home office ideas you’ll be able to flip the script, turning your own small office into a vibrant, productive, and creative space.
1. Determine your home office goals
To best construct and furnish your home office, you’ll first need a clear-cut understanding of what your space truly needs. Ask yourself the following questions before heading to the store:
What kind of work will I be doing?
Will I be making frequent video conference calls?
What kind of equipment do I need to enhance my work routine?
Will I have clients and colleagues visiting my office?
What are my biggest distractors?
How much space do I need?
Oftentimes the biggest obstacle home office workers face is creating a space that is best-suited for their personality or professional needs. Establishing a solid idea of what will help you separate your home life from your work life will be the defining factor in designing a productive home workplace.
2. Find the best location
If you’re transitioning from a corporate office to your own home office, odds are you will spend hours in your workspace on a daily basis. With that in mind, you should select a room where your creative juices can flow without distraction.
Choosing a common shared space will attract too much traffic, and selecting a cramped space could make you stir-crazy. A quiet space away from the hustle and bustle of the outside world makes for the best productivity.
If you intend to have clients stopping in, make sure the space is open and welcoming enough to sell your pitch. Can’t work in pure silence? Choose a space with a window you can open. Sometimes even the white noise of everyday happenings can keep the mind stimulated.
3. Optimize your home computer
Those whose business depends entirely upon their computers should make their computer setup the top priority. Say goodbye to the old desktop you’ve had since 2007. Technology has come a long way even in just the past five years. It is worth updating your home technology.
First, ask yourself what you’ll need out of your computer.
More complex graphics-related work or multi-task-heavy operations are best completed on desktop setups. If you plan to be on the move often, or spend more time using pen and paper than a keyboard and a mouse, a laptop is a more effective option.
Once you’ve decided to go with a laptop
, or both, consider how much storage will you need? All your data, files, and programs will need to find a safe home on your computer, so be sure to select a computer that can handle all the information you intend to keep on it.
How fast should your processor be? The central processing unit (CPU) is the single most important piece to your computer that determines your computer’s speed. We’re talking how much time it takes for your computer to load programs and execute complex program features. Generally, faster processors tend to carry higher price tags, but if your craft is dependent on it, it’s worth shelling out extra to produce top of the line content.
What is the best RAM range for you? Like the central processing unit, your computer’s random access memory
is responsible for keeping your computer afloat even when bogged down with several tabs and running programs. The average business computer falls in the middle of the range with 8GB of RAM.
What operating system is best for your work? Most businesses and home workers tend to go for Windows operating systems, but MacOS has a growing popularity. There is much to consider when choosing the best operating system, and the best way to figure out the best for you is to just test them out. Local and chain computer stores often have testable models. It’s worth the trip to familiarize yourself with the differences.
The choices don’t have to be overwhelming when it comes to printers for your home office. A little research and planning will help you find the right solution when it comes to outfitting yourself with a home office printer
that gives you everything you need, and nothing you don’t.
4. Get the best of the Internet
Believe it or not, the Internet comes in many different forms, speeds, and providers. For remote workers who need to be constantly plugged in, a high-speed internet connection is incredibly important. Looking for quality and reliability? Selecting the best provider for your connection means surveying ISP download and upload speeds.
Typical home-business owners look for bandwidths anywhere between 20 and 25 megabits per second (Mbps). This will assure top speed for all file-sharing, video calling, downloading, uploading, and graphics creation activity.
Just remember that you may have to share bandwidth with family members gaming or watching Netflix. Make sure you have the appropriate speed to get your work done without frustrating lag time or spotty connections.
5. Design and furnish your layout
Whether or not your budget can allow a complete revamp, there are plenty of ways in which you can furnish and organize your home office space to look and feel like a creative hub.
Remote professionals should first sort out their ideal chair. Don’t settle for a cheaply made chair that will make your back sore within an hour of typing away. Much like a wedding dress, don’t commit to an office chair until you’ve tried it, moved in it, and see yourself succeeding in it. Office chairs with warranties are often the most reliable and comfortable.
If your space doesn’t already have a desk or needs an upgrade, selecting a desk can be an exciting experience. Before searching, consider the size, storage capacity, and versatility you want your desk to have. In recent years adjustable desks have swept the office furniture industry. With the ability to choose if you want to sit or stand, adjustable desks keep things moving in your office. Tired of sitting? Easy fix.
Sometimes less is more and with your home workplace. Be wary of overcrowding your space, especially if you intend to have clients or colleagues joining you for sales or reviews. And check your area for used office furniture stores. They often buy in bulk from companies remodeling or going out of business. You may find a killer deal on an executive desk in pristine condition.
It’s a fact of life, the more stuff in our line of sight or within our reach, the more likely we are to become distracted. Decluttering your office space helps to optimize and strengthen your attention span. Minimize the number of photos, plants, pens, or sticky notes covering your workspace. Stocking your desk with only the absolute necessities will help keep you laser-focused.
Eliminate the time spent on sifting through your clutter by keeping the space as clear as possible at all times. Shelves, drawers, and filing cabinets are all easy clutter relocation solutions which you can use to tuck belongings out of sight to keep them out of mind.
7. Lighten up
The lighting in a room can affect you far more than you realize. Think about it, if you’re in a dimly lit room where the ambiance is warm and peaceful, you’ll probably feel more up to taking a nap than taking a business call. Changing the lighting in your workspace could mean anything from installing a new light fixture to painting the walls a brighter color. Bottom line is that a good home office either lets in plenty of natural light or features artificial lighting bright enough to illuminate the room.
8. Finetune your playlists
You may prefer headphones over speakers, or speakers over headphones, either way turning up the tunes can actually help you concentrate on the tasks covering your to-do list. Scientists have found that working or studying while listening to music can boost your levels of productivity, creativity, and memory retention.
Although some people are able to work with the sounds of the Top 40 hits, and Stephen King has said he’s most creative listening to heavy metal music, most people turn to simpler melodies. Classical music, nature sounds, and music without lyrics have proven to be wonder-workers for productivity. Tune out the outside world, and zone in on your work.
9. Use your walls
Unlike the other spaces in your home, you don’t have to worry about finding chic artwork to decorate your home office walls. Skip the artsy watercolors and find a big wall calendar to occupy your wall space instead. Being able to see your goals for the day, week, or month can help keep you grounded and ambitious. When your eyes begin to wander from your computer screen, the calendar serves as a reminder to either refocus or take a break.
Installing shelves into your walls can also help organize your small home office. Having clutter away from your immediate reach will reduce the number of distractions and maximize your available desk space.
10. Add a splash of green
Let’s face it, work can get tiring. From crunching numbers for hours to clicking away creating complex code, working from home is still work. Just like most jobs, getting to spend some quality time with mother nature is low on the priority list.
Placing a few plants throughout your office space can spruce it up and add a little life when you need it most. Cute little succulents are easy to care for and come in a number of colors and shapes to match your personality. Hanging plants are perfect accents to plain windows while floor plants are great for areas with a lot of open space. Even though they are small additions, plants are sure to add a peaceful essence to the room.
11. Take a break
Your brain can only go for so long before it needs to decompress. If you’re feeling any information overload, don’t be afraid to take a well-earned break from your work. Sometimes the only way to catch a second wind of productivity is to rest and reset.
Make the most of your breaks by staying creative without all the brain power. Take a walk around the neighborhood, cook up a tasty meal, or even browse your Instagram timeline. Staying inspired can be one of the most difficult parts of working from home, but working remotely also comes with many relaxing perks. Take advantage of them while you recharge your batteries.
12. Invest in a scented candle
Some people love the scent of freshly mowed grass while others feel relaxed by the smell of lavender. Whatever scents provide you with the most comfort, it’s worth investing in a candle or incense to fill your office space with a pleasant aroma. Essential oils have taken the aromatherapy industry by storm, so you could even purchase a diffuser that electronically disperses your favorite scent on a schedule. You’ll feel relaxed every time you step into your creative bubble.
13. Remove extra screens
While some work requires your handheld devices handy for optimal completion, you’ll often find that having your extra screens around will be more of a distraction than anything. Since our phones have become smarter than ever and keep us linked to our closest friends and family at all times, our phone is really just a handheld distraction.
Keeping your phone at a distance or even in a separate room removes the distraction of constant notifications breaking your concentration. Utilize your phone’s silence or do not disturb capabilities to nix the unnecessary fluff notifications.
14. Purchase a quality shredder
Running a business out of your own home is no small feat, and to successfully do it require a lot of patience and even more hard work. When hard work and success comes in the form of paperwork, it becomes incredibly easy to turn into a paperwork hoarder. To stay on top of important and unimportant files, organize them as soon as possible into labeled piles.
Items falling into the junk pile should never be tossed into a trash or recycle bin since they may contain confidential information you’d want to keep private. Bringing a shredder into your home office space will help keep clutter to a minimum and keep your personal information out of malicious hands.
About the Author: Tulie Finley-Moise is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Tulie is a digital content creation specialist based in San Diego, California with a passion for the latest tech and digital media news.